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When to Use a Headhunter for Hiring

When to Use a Headhunter for Hiring

Hiring a headhunter to find you the absolute best potential employees for your small business can really cut into your bottom line. Especially if you’re paying 15 to 25 percent of the open position’s annual first-year salary in fees, which is a pretty average rate according to Resume to Referral.

This means that you’re not likely to use this type of service for every job you’re hiring. To do so would just be too costly. So when could it potentially benefit you to use a headhunter, versus doing the employee search on your own, making it worth the additional cost?

When You’ve Exhausted Your Own Efforts

If you feel like you’ve already exhausted all of your own efforts—you’ve published in the local paper, put a listing online, run a social media ad, and contacted local colleges in an effort to find qualified new graduates—and still haven’t found “the one,” then it may be time to call in a headhunter. This person likely has access to other places to find qualified employees, some of which you might not even know about. At a minimum, he or she should be more in tune with where potential applicants in your field are searching to find employment, making it easier to make the initial connection.

When the Position Is Extremely Important to Your Business’ Success

Of course, every person you employ plays a critical role in your business’ success. However, there are some staff members that are higher up on the chain and have the ability to affect the biggest amount of change within a company and have the greatest control, such as those in upper management. To find the right person to fill one of these positions, you might want to use a headhunter, as getting the right applicant in this position is extremely important to your overall success.

When You Simply Don’t Have the Time

Between searching for the most qualified job candidates and vetting their resumes, you can literally spend entire days looking for the perfect person for just one position. This eats up valuable time that could be spent in other, potentially profitable, areas designed to help your business grow, such as in sales and marketing. So if you don’t have a person who can take care of this for you and you don’t have time to do it yourself, then you may find that hiring a headhunter is a great way to take this one to-do item off your plate so you can concentrate on other business needs.

How To Get The Most From a Headhunter

If you fall into one of these categories, then you may decide that hiring a headhunter is the best option for you. To help you select the right one, Jorg Stegemann, certified coach, business writer, and headhunter offers these two tips:

  • Use a headhunter that works within your field. For instance, if you are in automotive, find a headhunter who knows automotive lingo and understands what it takes to succeed in the industry. This enables him or her to find the most qualified candidate because they know what traits and skills are necessary to excel. Plus, they can “speak the language,” so the communication should be more clear and concise.
  • Don’t give the headhunter any confidential information until you know for sure he or she is the real deal. This means taking the time to meet with this person face-to-face, or at least doing your own research, to satisfy that the person is who he or she claims to be. There are a lot of shams out there and you don’t want to be taken by one.

Have you had any experiences with headhunters? Were they good or bad? Feel free to share in the comment section below!

I’m always interested in learning other small business owners’ thoughts on relevant topics and issues, so if you have a comment or unique article idea, feel free to contact me at [email protected] (put “Businessing Magazine” in the subject line, please). If I use it, it’s a free link to your website!


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by Christina DeBusk // Freelance writer, author, and small business consultant committed to helping entrepreneurs achieve higher levels of success.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.